i left by 9am, while kevin was eating breakfast in the kitchen. i brought the specimen box, an icepack inside the styrofoam exterior. i bumped into my opposite neighbor walking her dog. she asked me a strange question, "are you okay?" i thought it was in reference to the box, which i started blabbering about how it was a part of a nutrition study, but later i realized that wasn't why she was asking, because this was the same neighbor who saw me talking outside to my doctor and coughing. she probably thinks i have the virus.
one of the perks of coronavirus quarantine is zero traffic. the drive to the arlington test site was uneventful. the office building has its own parking lot but i didn't know if i had to pay or not so i simply parked on the curb. if it weren't for the exercise ban before the blood test, i could've simply biked here instead.
i didn't know what to expect, but the quest diagnostics center was just a single office in the suite of other offices in the building. the place itself is pretty picturesque, built along side a brook, makes me wonder if it was an actual mill at one time. i went in, there was a man getting dressed. i walked behind him to get to the touchscreen ipad to register my arrival, he didn't notice me and was surprised when he finally saw me. there was nobody else there, not even a receptionist behind the plexiglass window. there was a wall-mounted television broadcasting some morning talk show, with a crawler underneath with my name and time on it. a few minutes later a came come out to ask what i want tested. i gave her the predict 2 provided forms, she disappeared to look over them. the nurse was dressed in full protective gear: mask, gloves, shield, gown. i saw in the small waiting room, sipping my hot water to keep myself from coughing.
minutes later a different nurse came out (dressed in full protective garb as well) to take me in the back and take my blood samples. up to that point they didn't check my id yet so i took out my driver license and asked her if she needed to see. she said they do all their screening anonymously, and i'd simply be identified by a number. for some reason i thought they were only going to take 1 vial of blood (though i read that somewhere) but they ended up taking 6 tubes. i tried to make small talk ("has it been busy lately?") but she was not in the mood and simply murmured through her mask and shield. she was good though, i hardly felt it when the needle went into my arm and held the vaculet blood collector steady as she swapped out the vials.
i was already finished and out the door by the time my scheduled appointment was supposed to happen at 9:45am. i washed my hands with some disinfectant i had in my bag. i saw the nearby parking lot, it's probably free for visitors (even though there's an attendant booth), if i ever come back i'll know to park there. i turned the car around to return it via nearby arlington center and pleasant street.
after dropping off the car at my parents' place, i got my fuji bike out of the garage and pedaled home, getting back by 11am. for lunch i fixed myself an everything bagel sandwich with the aldi cranberry almond chicken salad. market basket everything bagels are okay, but the ones i got at aldi's weeks ago were the best, too bad they didn't have any yesterday. in the afternoon kevin got another china package; i happened to be in the living at the time and heard the mailman knocking on the door because it required a signature. the mailman said he could sign for me, so i didn't need to touch his equipment, just take the package.
later i went to market basket for the first time since march 16th more than 2 weeks ago. that was during the height of panic buying, so how would it be now? it was still very much business as usual, and very much crowded as it typically is. it seemed a little unsafe, and there was definitely no social distancing although they tried with taped signs everywhere in the store asking customers to stand 6ft apart. they did move some of the displays by the entrance to make more room, but that is a small market basket to begin with, no way there can't be any crowding, whether its between the skinny aisles, or the checkout area. they taped signs on the floor telling people where to stand if the checkout lines get long and snake into the aisles. all the cashiers wore gloves, a few had masks. the same mix of PPE with customers. there were also mothers pushing strollers with kids, seemed a little risky but sometimes parents have no choice due to lack of child care.
terms of supplies, zero pasta, and a few jars of off-brand tomato sauce. people seemed to be hoarding the shredded cheese again although i did managed to snag a package of parmesan. and ice cream, a lot of it was gone. frozen vegetables a lot were gone too, but i did get a 2lbs. bag of broccoli florets. otherwise, everything else seemed to be in stock.
but the crowding issue is a recipe for disaster, if things don't chance it won't be a question of when somebody will get coronavirus here, but when. as if management read by mind, later in the evening they announced new rules, where they will only allow a certain number of customers at a time, which is what a lot of ultra busy supermarkets have been doing (like costco, which can also get very crowded). this is not only good for the customers (less crowding) but good for the employees. i just wonder how they're going to enforce it, especially at this particular somerville market basket, which can get crazy crowded, and the parking lot is always full of cars. it's made me re-evaluate if i'm coming back next time. i can still get everything at my nearby star market; yes, a little more expensive, but it's never crowded there. it won't kill me if i stopping going to market basket for a few weeks.
now that things have settled down in our 3rd week of home confinement, i've noticed kevin has a new habit of intermittently taking naps throughout the day, judging by the darkness coming from his bedroom. in the late afternoon early evening i got a bit drowsy myself, but managed to stay awake.
i bought ingredients for making risotto but i decided to make that for tomorrow night: instead i heated up the last of my leftover quiche slices. even after 30 minutes in the toaster oven it was still cold on the inside, but by that point i was already eating and didn't want to throw it back in the oven.
it took 6 days but kevin's paypal rent payment finally went through. i even asked him about it tonight, but when i went into my paypal account, the money was no longer pending. i the made the transfer from paypal to my bank account. so no-fee money transfer does work, it just takes a while. i wonder if using something like venmo would be faster?